EC to monitor Pheu Thai, Thaksin meet
The Election Commission (EC) is keeping a close watch on Pheu Thai Party members who will reportedly meet former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Singapore, its secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said.
Pol Col Jarungvith said the agency will need a great deal of time to look into whether the party lets Thaksin control its affairs. Pheu Thai is under EC investigation for alleged violations of the organic law on political parties.
The party is alleged to have allowed Thaksin, considered a party outsider, to pull strings from abroad, which could result in the party's dissolution. Pheu Thai has denied the accusation.
The probe was triggered by a video call which Thaksin made to Pheu Thai members in June. Some travelled overseas to meet him, fuelling suspicions he still controlled the party despite living in self-imposed exile.
Pheu Thai claims the probe is a tactic to prevent the party contesting the election.
Pintongta Kunakornwong, Thaksin's daughter, on Wednesday posted a photo of Thaksin on her Instagram account, saying her father was currently in Ukraine.
He will reportedly fly to Singapore this weekend where Pheu Thai and Thai Raksa Chart Party members will meet him.
A Pheu Thai source said that the party's election strategy committee led by Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan will meet to discuss a plan to field poll candidates to run in the constituency system.
The panel will also consider which candidates who failed to win in the 2011 election should continue to run under Pheu Thai's banner and which ones should run on the ticket of Thai Raksa Chart, a sister party, the source said.
Meanwhile, Mingkwan Sangsuwan, a former deputy prime minister under the dissolved People Power Party, announced Wednesday that he will stage a political comeback as the new leader of the Setthakij Mai (New Economy) Party.
Mr Mingkwan revealed that Suppadit Akarsarerk, the party's present leader, had told him he will make way for him to become party leader and that he will be nominated as the only prime ministerial candidate on the party's ticket.
His role will involve working out an economic strategy for the country, said Mr Mingkwan, also a former Pheu Thai Party MP and a former president of state-owned broadcaster, MCOT. Mr Mingkwan insisted that he was not a "nominee" of Pheu Thai and that he will present practical policies to compete against other parties in the election.
He said he was ready to work with other parties which share similar ideas on the economy and democracy, though he refused to say if he would support Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha returning as prime minister after the election.
Also Wednesday, three former MPs who broke away from Pheu Thai have applied to join the Palang Pracharath Party. They are former deputy agriculture minister Wirat Rattanaseth; former deputy interior minister Supol Fongngam; and Suporn Atthawong, formerly a key figure in the red shirts.